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Australia-EU FTA - Report on 15th Negotiating Round, 24-28 April 2023

The fifteenth round of the Australia-EU Free Trade Agreement negotiations was held in Brussels on 24-28 April. Building on the strong political commitment on both sides to close the deal, negotiators made substantial progress, closing 11 chapters and five annexes. We resolved a number of long-standing technical matters and had further discussions on existing market access offers. The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade led the Australian delegation, which included representatives from five Australian Government agencies.

The progress during the round puts us on track for early conclusion of an ambitious and comprehensive trade agreement, if we are able to agree on the market access deal. Chief Negotiators will meet again in May to continue negotiations on the remaining issues.

Trade in Goods

The Trade in Goods text was agreed, with the exception of those issues linked to the final goods market access package. The Parties continued discussions on goods market access, focussing on specific agricultural and industrial products.

Government Procurement

We reached in-principle agreement on a government procurement market access package, subject to necessary further technical and legal work.

Rules of Origin

We successfully concluded the Rules of Origin chapter, which will establish simple, low-cost, self-certification procedures for traders to claim origin.

Trade Remedies

We agreed to provisions on anti-dumping, global safeguards and bilateral safeguards, except for issues linked to the final goods market access outcome.

Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT)

We reached substantial conclusion of the chapter text and annexes on Conformity Assessment, Cosmetics, Complementary Medicines, and Motor Vehicles and Parts.

Services and Investment

Negotiators continued to discuss further improvements to our respective Revised Services and Investment Market Access Offers.  We provisionally closed the Financial Services and the Cross-Border Trade in Services (CBTS) sub-chapters.

Intellectual Property

The intellectual property chapter, excluding geographical indications (GIs), was provisionally closed following constructive discussions of outstanding issues. These included the recognition of the interests of Australian First Nations peoples, as well as provisions related to patents and undisclosed information. On GIs, we discussed the few remaining provisions in the text, including the date of protection for EU GIs, and continued difficult discussions on GI terms sensitive to Australian industry.

Digital Trade

We provisionally concluded the Digital Trade chapter, following discussion on the remaining articles:  data flows, privacy, scope and source code.

Energy and Resources

We agreed to a number of provisions, including on cooperation on critical minerals, renewable energy and Australian First Nations peoples' interests relating to energy and resources. We made substantial progress on provisions regarding third party access to energy transport infrastructure, and continued discussions on the EU's requests regarding energy and resources pricing.

Trade and Sustainable Development

Negotiators worked intensively on all outstanding issues, including on giving effect to our shared ambitions on trade and climate issues.

Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures

We agreed all remaining provisions in the SPS Chapter.

Sustainable Food Systems

All of the provisions in the SFS Chapter are now agreed.

Preamble, Initial, Exceptions, Institutional, Dispute Settlement and Final Provisions

We concluded our discussions on the Preamble and Rules of Procedure. Discussions are nearing conclusion on Initial Provisions, Exceptions, Institutional, Dispute Settlement and Final Provisions Chapters.

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